Walking the historical center of town gives you a feeling of stepping back in time to the colonial period with the buildings all being preserved as they were 250 years ago. With the city becoming a Unesco World Heritage Site, even greater restrictions and guidelines have been put in place to maintain the look of historic charm.
All the buildings are a warm glow of yellow, ochre, or orange, with ironwork and wood framing. If repairs are to be done to exteriors, 60% must remain original.
Don’t let this ramshackled look fool you though, because hidden behind these walls are beautiful courtyards, fancy restaurants and hotels, spas, and more eateries with live bands spilling music into the streets.
San Miguel is the home to more than 8,000 expatriates, and more than 500 artists. The city has many art schools which may explain why so many artists flock to this city. We visited the La Aurora Center for fabrics, art, painting, and design for an afternoon of painting. It was filled with galleries of amazing art… a very dangerous place for an art junkie like Elaine and myself. There were so many beautiful paintings there and we wanted many of them. San Miguel certainly is an enormous art and design community.
Day of the Dead is a national holiday in Mexico and there is plenty of art here to commemorate the passing of ones family members and friends who have passed on, to celebrate their lives and to support their spiritual journey. Once you understand the holiday, all these paintings of skulls become quite meaningful to keep loved ones in their hearts.